We were somewhere around San Diego when the geek-gasms began to take hold. I remember saying something like, ” I’m feeling a little lightheaded…” And suddenly there was a huge roar all around us and the streets were filled with Supermen, Wonder Women, Klingons, Stormtroopers, Steampunks, Zombies and millions of other costumed geeks. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Moly! Who are all these goddamned nerds?”
This year’s Comic-Con was something special, because I was there to represent the awesome movie podcast THE POPCORN MAFIA, along with its lovely host Grae Drake. We stayed in an amazing hotel suite that was a light disc’s throw from the convention center and after checking into press registration on Wednesday, we hit the floor for preview night. I made a stop to the GENTLE GIANT LTD. booth to pick up my official Comic-Con exclusive Darth Vader bust that is based on the original Ralph McQuarrie design. Score one for the Star Wars nerd that lives inside me! The next day we made our way over to Hall H for the first panel of the day, MEGAMIND from Dreamworks…
I’ve been a fan of Dreamworks animation ever since I saw ANTS and just recently I loved the holy hell out of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, so I’m really looking forward to their take on the superhero genre. This story involves two sworn adversaries that are constantly at battle: a superhero called Metro Man (Brad Pitt) and a supervillian named Megamind (Will Ferrell). But, when Megamind manages to actually destroy his crime fighting nemesis and is allowed to do whatever his evil little heart desires, he learns that a bad guy is nothing without a good guy to oppose. It looks amusing and has a very funny cast that also includes Tina Fey and Jonah Hill. The panel was good and Ferrell had some great jokes about how he was the only one who showed up in costume. Next up, the most highly anticipated panel of the day and possibly the whole con…
The TRON LEGACY panel was moderated by PATTON OSWALT and was absolutely mind-roasting awesome! The cast came out headed up by Flynn himself, JEFF BRIDGES, and also included OLIVIA WILDE, MICHAEL SHEEN, GARRETT HEDLUND (Flynn’s son) and of course, BRUCE BOXLEITNER (Tron). Also, on the panel was TRON LEGACY director JOSEPH KOSINSKI and the original creator STEVE LISBERGER. The footage shown was beautiful and exciting and looked stunningly gorgeous in Real 3-D. One long scene shown involved Flynn’s son (Garrett Hedlund) and his introduction to the computer game world in much the same way as his father’s was in the first movie. The flying ships that look like three dimensional versions of the aliens from SPACE INVADERS are back and they look similar, only much more detailed. Everything I saw has the same design from the first TRON, only more engaging and fully realized. The light cycle race looks crazy-ass sweet and there are fucking light cars, too! I can’t wait till December and you better believe I’ll be seeing it in IMAX 3-D for sure.
After TRON, Disney showed a teaser trailer in 3-D for the new PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movie that featured JOHNNY DEPP as Captain Jack addressing the audience. It made me want some rum.
Then it was announced that GUILLERMO DEL TORO will be writing and producing a HAUNTED MANSION reboot and Hall H went crazy when DEL TORO took the stage to talk about it. He said that ever since he was a little boy and went to Disneyland for the first time, he has loved HAUNTED MANSION and he intends to make a movie that will honor how fucking cool and scary and fun that attraction is. He also said that EDDIE MURPHY will NOT be getting a call for this one. Sounds great to me, as I too love HAUNTED MANSION and can’t wait to see the marriage of DEL TORO’S mind with what already exists there visually!
After the Disney panel, the Sony Pictures presentation began with SALT. The breathtakingly sexy ANGELINA JOLIE and the very reserved LIEV SCHREIBER came out to show some footage from SALT and I must say that I had zero interest in this movie until I watched some scenes from it, and now I think it actually looks pretty cool. They showed us this really great car chase scene where Salt (Angelina Jolie) escapes from custody in a car full of cops and beats their asses Jason Bourne-style. That combined with watching Jolie’s big red lips tell the crowd how hard she worked on the movie from the huge jumbo-tron in Hall H guarantees that I’ll be checking it out soon.
Next up was the BATTLE: LOS ANGELES panel and AARON ECKHART and MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ were trotted out for that. The movie’s about an alien invasion and a group of soldiers sent into an occupied L.A. to take back the city. There was some really intense fire fight footage shown of the squad going head to head with aliens armed with advanced weapons in an urban street fighting scenario similar to BLACKHAWK DOWN. I’m looking forward to this one a lot, because I never get tired of alien invasion movies and war flicks and this is both genres combined. THE HURT LOCKER meets HALO.
Sony was followed by the Summit Entertainment presentation of RED, which is another graphic novel turned motion picture. This one features BRUCE WILLIS, HELEN MIRREN, MARY LOUISE PARKER and KARL URBAN, who were all on hand for the panel. The movie’s about a group of retired CIA agents who are forced out of retirement because someone’s trying to off them. Nothing I saw got me that interested. Maybe it was because BRUCE WILLIS couldn’t have seemed more bored and detached from the proceedings and answered everything posed to him in an unenthusiastic tone similar to a Cylon, only without the fun costume cred. Even the free swag for RED was unimpressive.
Next up was the “visionaries” panel hosted by Entertainment Weekly. JOSS WHEDON and J.J. ABRAMS came out to discuss their bodies of work, future projects and their thoughts on the current state and future of fantastic cinema. It was very cool to hear these guys talk about what kind of things motivate them and what their influences are. JOSS WHEDON talked about how excited and frightened he is about the forthcoming AVENGERS project and his hope that MGM eventually releases his recent movie CABIN IN THE WOODS. J.J. ABRAMS had a lot to say about the forthcoming SUPER 8 and his love for old school SPEILBERG-style AMBLIN’ entertainment. He looks so cool in glasses, he made me wish I had shitty vision. I’m really looking forward to basically everything these guys do.
Following that, the testosterone level in Hall H went up to about 200% because it was time for THE EXPENDABLES panel! HARRY KNOWLES moderated the proceedings with cast members TERRY CREWS, DOLPH LUNDGREN, STEVE AUSTIN, RANDY COUTURE and none other than SLY STALLONE himself. Even a much more lively BRUCE WILLIS came out to support this exciting new throwback to the old school action flicks of the 80’s. This was the most macho panel of the entire con and I was afraid that at any second people could start fighting or fucking, or both! A few clips were shown, including a badass fight scene between SLY and STONE COLD where STEVE AUSTIN actually broke STALLONE’S neck for real! Talk about sacrificing for your art! This panel got me even more pumped up than I already was! I wanted to shoot some juice, lift some weights and blow something the fuck up with a bazooka while hanging from ANGELINA JOLIE’S tits!
After the EXPENDABLES panel, there was a presentation for SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, but I was starving and had to leave to get some food. Besides, why watch a panel for a movie that I was just about to see an advanced screening of?! Grae got us both into a sneak peek of SCOTT PILGRIM at the beautiful Balboa theatre in downtown San Diego and EDGAR WRIGHT was walking up to everyone in line and personally thanking them for coming. No problem Edgar, your movie was absolutely awesome! SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD is a romantic rock ‘n roll action comedy that takes place in a comic book universe where our hero must battle the League of Evil Exes in order to win the heart of the girl of his dreams. The audience gave it a standing ovation and after the film, Edgar brought out the entire cast. Then the screen raised and METRIC rocked out for the crowd with a mini-concert that was off the hook EPIC!
After the concert, Grae and I went to the MACHETE party. Sadly, we missed the footage shown, but we were still able to load up on some free swag and grab a couple tacos from the MACHETE taco truck. It was late and we were exhausted, so we headed back to our hotel to rest up for the next action packed day. Stay tuned for part 2 of my Comic-Con adventures. Nerd out!